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Sonata for Piano (C ma.) op. 53

Listening samples
1. Allegro con brio (365 kB)
2. Introduzione. Adagio molto (365 kB)
3. Rondo. Allegretto moderato (365 kB)

Composition
begun between January 1803 and early January 1804; finished by end of 1804
dedicated to Ferdinand Ernst Graf von Waldstein

By the time Beethoven dedicated his C-major piano sonata of 1805 to Count Waldstein he was already a reputable artist. As early as 1801 had he told his friend Franz Gerhard Wegeler from Bonn: ‘My compositions are selling well and I can say I have more orders than I could handle. There are six to seven publishers for each piece and there could be more if I wanted to. I demand and they pay, a very enjoyable situation’ (quoted from complete correspondence, 65.)

Count Ferdinand Erst von Waldstein (1762-1823) certainly contributed to this success. In 1787 Waldstein had become a member of the Teutonic Order and relocated to Bonn, where the Cologne Elector served as the order's Grand Master. Waldstein was not only an influential member of the upper nobility but also a passionate musician and composer.

It is thus unsurprising that Waldstein soon developed an interest in the highly talented young musician. In 1792, with Waldstein's support, Beethoven was granted a scholarship to study with Haydn in Vienna. But Waldstein did more than arrange the journey: he probably recommended the young man to Prince Lichnowsky, with whom he had attended the military academy. This contact laid the foundation for Beethoven's success in Vienna. Lichnowsky became his most important patron and opened the doors to the Vienna nobility. Beethoven was well aware of how much his friend Count Waldstein had promoted his success. And what better way to express his gratitude than to dedicate a grand piano sonata to his patron! (J.R.)

Music manuscripts
Autograph, op. 53, HCB Mh 7 Autograph with sound

First editions
Originalausgabe, op. 53, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, 449, C 53 / 26
Titelauflage, op. 53, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, 449, HCB C op. 53
Titelauflage, op. 53, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, 449; Teilscan, J. Van der Spek C op. 53
Titelauflage, op. 53, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, 449; Teilscan, C 53 / 16

Scores
Bibliographic data in library catalogue

Written documents
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 26. August 1804, HCB Br 63
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 10. Oktober 1804, HCB Br 309
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 24. November 1804, HCB Br 310
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 16. Januar 1805, HCB Br 64
Brief an Josephine Deym, Wien, vielleicht April/Mai 1805, HCB BBr 85
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 18. April 1805, HCB Br 66
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, Mai 1805, HCB Br 65

Pictures
Ferdinand Ernst Graf von Waldstein (1762-1823) - Reproduktion einer anonymen Silhouette aus Beethovens Stammbuch, vielleicht von Joseph Neesen stammend, 1. Viertel 20. Jahrhundert, B 130/b

Literature
Bibliographic data in library catalogue

Literature for further reading
F. Rovelli, The Rondos of Beethoven's Sonata Opus 53, Bonner Beethoven-Studien 10, 2012

Manuscript sources in other libraries
Polen, Kraków: Biblioteka Jagiellonska

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E-Mail: bibliothek@beethoven-haus-bonn.de